For my birthday this year, I decided to stay at home and cook for my family. Noodles are a staple for birthdays, since it signifies long life. Instead of the usual spaghetti or pancit, I decided to cook Pad Thai, another noodle favorite in the house.
When I went to Thailand two years ago, one of the things I made sure to do was to attend a Thai cooking class. So while in Bangkok, I signed up to join a half-day cooking class at the Thai Kitchen. We learned how to cook Thai Red Curry, Sticky Rice and Mango among other things, and of course, Pad Thai.
The ingredients we used in the Thai Kitchen are of course ingredients that are easily available in Thailand. In Manila, however, you need to search for these items. Since I am lazy, I opted to use ingredients that is readily available to substitute for the ingredients in my Thai recipe book. Not as authentic as the Pad Thai I tried in Bangkok, but it’s a great and cheap substitute!
A note before I continue: I hardly measure my ingredients when I cook. The measurements in this recipe is an approximation of the ingredients I use, and is made to suit the taste buds of my family.
Simple Pad Thai Recipe
1/8 teaspoon astuete
3.5 cups water
1 big pack Knorr tamarind soup base
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 teaspoon Thai fish sauce (depending on your taste, actually)
1/8 cup cooking oil
1 pack hibe (dried shrimp)
4 small blocks of tokwa, cubed (firm tofu)
200 grams chicken breast fillet
1 500 gram pack dry rice noodle
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
spring onions, cut into 1″ length
1/4 cup finely chopped dry roasted peanuts
1. Put the astuete in a small bowl or cup with 3 tablespoons of hot water. Stir, then set aside.
2. In a medium sized bowl, mix in the tamarind powder, paprika, fish sauce and water. Pour in the water from the atsuete mix, using a strainer to separate the atsuete bean (? corn? pellet? whatever.)
3. Fire up the stove and bring out your favorite kawali or wok
4. Pour in some of the cooking oil, then sautée your onion. When it’s almost transparent, put in the hibe, then the tofu
5. Put in a little more oil, then stir fry your chicken breast.
6. When the breast have browned, pour in your tamarind mix. Bring to boil.
7. When the sauce is boiling, put in the dry rice noodles. The noodles soak in the liquid, so if it looks too dry, but the noodles aren’t cooked yet, add in some hot water.
8. When the noodles have absorbed all the liquid (or most of it), transfer everything into a bowl or another kawali.
9. In your original kawali, pour your last remaining cooking oil. When the oil is hot, crack in the two eggs. When the eggs are semi-set, poke the yolk and swirl the gloop around the wok.
10. With the egg still runny, put the noodles, etcetera back into your wok, then stir, stir, stir.
11. If you don’t like eating your bean sprouts raw, toss them in and stir until they’re below everything else.
12. Garnish your Pad Thai with spring onions and finely chopped peanuts.
* Rice noodles packets usually advise to soak the noodles in boiling water before cooking. I opted to cook them in the boiling sinigang mix instead so it can absorb the flavor.
* The noodles cook pretty fast. Like pasta, they should be cooked al dente, because overcooked noodles aren’t fun, nor are they pretty.
* As I said, this recipe, though attempting to stay authentic, is made to suit my family’s taste buds. Adjust the amount of sugar, fish sauce and tamarind powder to your liking.
* My favorite brand of Thai fish sauce is called Ang Sarap Patis. No kidding. Right below the name, it says “Imported.” Haha.